Singing at the Highest Level

Junior among 300 across the country chosen for national choir


Maya Calvert

Junior Maya Calvert stands near the entrance of the American Choral Directors Association’s conference in February in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Alli Wang, News Editor

In a grand venue in Cincinnati, Ohio, junior Maya Calvert stood among 300 high school students selected from around the nation to sing over Presidents’ Week.

She sang at the American Choral Directors Association conference as part of the organization’s National Honor Choir.

As Calvert sang, she felt both nervous yet excited. She was chosen out of thousands of applicants across the country to join the prestigious group, with 10 students from California.

“You’re nervous, but at the same time this is the moment you’ve been working up to in the past few days that you’ve been there.” she said, describing her experience at the conference. “Everyone (in the choir) is feeling that way, so it’s very high energy and everyone’s bonding together.”

Her performance was a compilation of eight pieces across different periods, conveying the theme of “diversity.”

Calvert has been singing for 10 years, saying she sang “as soon as she could talk.” Recognizing Calvert’s early interest, her mother introduced her to a community choir, the Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose, as an outlet for her.

She credits her community choir’s director for encouraging her to join multiple honor choirs after recognizing her strength in vocal techniques.

She has since participated in the annual California All-State Choir six times in junior high school and high school divisions consecutively and performed at the regional Western Division Choir.

“She’s very kind and understanding,” she said of her mother. “We just have a really really close relationship, and she always pushes me to do my best.”

In addition to gaining insight on vocal technique, Calvert was offered multiple scholarships from colleges and has enjoyed finding communities who shared her passion for singing at the conference.

With the friends she’s making in the community, she hopes to continue pursuing choral singing as a director, or minoring in music in the future.

“If I’m going to do some new music in my future, it’s good to get to know them,” she said. “Then because those are going to be future music teachers, future directors and things like that. It’s a really amazing learning opportunity.”